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Meghalaya Continues With Its 40-Year Tradition of Fractured Verdicts

While Congress might still have the most seats, the biggest winner in the 2018 Assembly elections is the National People’s Party (NPP) founded by late Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma after his expulsion from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 2012.

Soumyadip Choudhury | CNN-News18@soumyadip

Updated:March 3, 2018, 5:19 PM IST
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Meghalaya Continues With Its 40-Year Tradition of Fractured Verdicts
While Congress might still have the most seats, the biggest winner in the 2018 Assembly elections is the National People’s Party (NPP) founded by late Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma after his expulsion from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 2012.
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With the solitary exception of the first Assembly election, way back in 1972, nine consecutive elections in Meghalaya have not yielded a clear majority to any party. In all the nine elections since 1978, Congress has consistently been the single largest party but its highest seat count was in 2013 at 29, two short of the majority mark of 31 in the 60-member Assembly.

While Congress might still have the most seats, the biggest winner in the 2018 Assembly elections is the National People’s Party (NPP) founded by late Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma after his expulsion from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 2012. In 2013, NPP could manage only 2 seats, but 2018 is the year when the party has come of age: winning 19 seats, only two behind Congress’ 21.

NPP’s victories are also well spread across the state with 11 coming from the Garo Hills region and 9 from the Khasi & Jaintia Hills. NPP’s growth has primarily been at the cost of Congress with the party snatching 11 seats, which Congress had won in 2013.

In 2018, as in multiple instances in the past, regional parties and Independents will have a strong say in deciding who forms the government. Even though the UDP alliance is down from its previous strength of 13 to 8, it could very well play the kingmaker. Meghalaya has had three UDP Chief Ministers in the past.

Independents have played an important role in Meghalaya politics. The first Meghalaya Assembly had 19 Independent candidates in a House of 60 and the previous one had 13. In fact, in 2001, an Independent candidate became the Chief Minister of the state. Flinder Anderson Khonglam (an Independent candidate from MLA for Sohra - known as Cherapunjee to the outside world) was the first ever Independent MLA to be the Chief Minister of any Indian state. In 2018, the Independent count is the lowest at 3 (same as in 1983), but the way the results have panned out, the 3 could very well decide who would be the next Chief Minister of the state.

For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Meghalaya still remains as an unconquered state. In vote percentage terms 2018 is BJP’s best ever. This year the party has got around 10% of the total votes polled, which is almost double of its previous best of 5.4% in 2003. However, in seat count it is still a seat less than the previous best of 3 seats in 1998. Also the two seats which BJP won are in Shillong and have to do more with strong candidates than the party. Both the candidates AL Hek (Pynthorumkhrah) and Sanbor Shullai (South Shillong) were sitting MLAs with strong support base and both moved over to the BJP just before the elections.
| Edited by: Tarun Bhardwaj
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